The Deceitful DiseaseAugust 3, 2023
J.C. Ryle wrote, “If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.”
If you have done any kind of counseling or recovery you might of heard the term “self-medication”. It refers to our efforts to medicate the ills of our soul with the resources of the world — food, sex, hobbies, or even medicine. Its not to say those things are in and of themselves bad. It is to say when we apply them to the disease of the soul we have attended a soul disease with medicine that cannot cure it. When we see someone giving themselves to climbing the corporate ladder in search of meaning and identity, for example, we ought not merely blame them. We should pity them, considering what a helpless self-medication that can be. It is akin to taking a Tylenol hoping that it will cure your leukemia.
We discussed this in youth group recently and we came up with 25 observations about the disease of sin and salvation in an effort to right understand our desperate state and the great salvation that is in Christ. Sin is stubborn about hiding itself and the seriousness of its condition. Like not wanting to go to the doctor because, “Oh, its just a little pain” Ryle explores how we minimize sin in our lives.
“Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart” is by nature evil, and that continually (Gen 6:5). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). Sin is a disease which pervades and runs through every part of our moral constitution and every faculty of our minds. The understanding, the affections, the reasoning powers, the will, are all more or less infected. Even the conscience is so blinded that it cannot be depended on as a sure guide, and is as likely to lead men wrong as right, unless it is enlightened by the Holy Ghost. In short, “from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” about us (Isa 1:6). The disease may be veiled under a thin covering of courtesy, politeness, good manners, and outward decorum; but it lies deep down in the constitution.”
“One point only remains to be considered on the subject of sin, which I dare not pass over. That point is its deceitfulness. It is a point of most serious importance, and I venture to think it does not receive the attention which it deserves. You may see this deceitfulness in the incredible proneness of men to regard sin as less sinful and dangerous than it is in the sight of God; and in their readiness to extenuate it, make excuses for it, and minimize its guilt.
“It is but a little one!”
“God is merciful!”
“God is not extreme to mark what is done by accident!” “We mean well!”
“One cannot be so particular!”
“Where is the mighty harm?”
“We only do as others!”
Who is not familiar with this kind of language?”
In order to get past pretense we looked intently at 1 John 1:5-10 to consider the real state of sin and the only real cure.
Observations on Sin and Salvation From 1 John 1:5-10
- If we say we have no sinned, we are calling God a liar.
- If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves.
- If say we have fellowship with God but walk in sin we are a liar.
- If we say we have no sin, his word is not in us.
- There is a way to be forgiven of sin.
- Forgiveness of sin is conditional.
- The way to forgiveness is confession.
- Sin grows.
- There is no sin in God.
- If we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us.
- Sin separates our fellowship with others.
- The blood of Jesus can cleanse sin.
- The blood of Jesus can cleanse all sin.
- Glory of God is in forgiveness of sin.
- God is faithful to forgive when we confess.
- God us just to forgive sin when we confess.
- God is just to judge us if we do not confess our sin.
- All sin is condemnable.
- The truth about our sin comes from God, not us.
- We cannot walk in darkness (sin) and have fellowship with God.
- We cannot simultaneously walk in darkness and light.
- Knowledge of sin comes through proclamation and message of God.
- God is the one who cleanses our sin in Christ, not us.
- Walking in the light is turning from sin.
- We have been given awareness of our sin in the message of the Apostles.
We could keep going. Part of the disease of sin is its deceitfulness. It hides and disguises itself as health. Where our spirits and affections toward God are low we might consider if we have right diagnosed the sinfulness of our sin. Sin is late term, stage 4 cancer. It is so poisonous and deadly that it’s only remedy is the spilled blood of Jesus on the cross. Have you ever been in the room when someone was told they are now cancer free? Their response is dependant upon how deadly their cancer was. If sin is so deadly, and we are so cured, there is our affection for Christ. Let us consider our disease, confess it, and praise God for cleansing through Christ.